Synopses & Reviews
The bestselling writer who took us on a cross-country journey to reveal his long love affair with chocolate in Candyfreak
returns with his second accomplished short-story collection. Once again he has produced a funny, bracing, sometimes shocking, always imaginative collection of stories and characters: a young magazine editor enduring a bizarre blind date; a couple who are sure that they have been given implants by space aliens; a young boy desperate to please his father with his baseball prowess, who ends up fatally wounding another boy during a game; a creative-writing teacher struggling to resist his seductive student.
With tremendous heart and an unmatchable wit, Almond proves as he did with the acclaimed My Life in Heavy Metal and the bestselling Candyfreak to be one of the most original writers of our time.
"In this sexy, fast-paced second collection of stories, Almond, author of My Life in Heavy Metal
and the nonfiction Candyfreak
, takes on love and loss around the turn of the millennium, showing how average people living in big cities and university towns tackle heartbreak with humor. The title story traces the flailing love between a magazine editor and a commitment-phobic medical resident who seems too good to be true. In 'Appropriate Sex,' a refreshing addition to the growing genre of stories about the goings-on in undergraduate writing workshops, a writer-in-residence is treated to a parade of students who 'discourse on Tristam Shandy
,' seduce him and get him stoned in the same office hour. 'A Happy Dream' portrays the lucky outcome of a blind date on which Kate, a bike messenger masquerading as a chimney sweep, forces Henry, a cautious sous-chef, to think on his feet. While struggling with his own recent breakup, the narrator of 'Skull' listens as his friend confesses how he and his new girlfriend are finding love in unlikely ways that involve her prosthetic eye. Almond doesn't dig too deep or offer up grand theories about romantic love, but his easy, natural storytelling and consoling reminders that intimacy is awkward and messy will carry readers happily along. Forecast: Almond scored a surprise hit with
Candyfreak, his confessional tour of candy factories. This laid-back follow-up delivers more guilty pleasure and should attract and satisfy Almond's new fans. Author tour.
" Publishers Weekly
(Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Almond...has a nice treasure trove of ideas and a smart way with his characters, but he always seems to lose interest just as the going gets good....A distractingly entertaining second collection, nimbly executed." Kirkus Reviews
"Almond proves himself to be just as irreverent, audacious, and amusing in his new set of stories, but his subjects are more diverse....As out there as Almond gets, he never loses his down-to-earth tenderness and agile delicacy." Booklist
"[Almond] throw[s] in enough sex, wit, and brutal honesty to revive interest in the short story format....Almond's stories are often bittersweet and bordering on the absurd....They are also wildly inventive and highly recommended..." Library Journal
"His words are punchy and the stories really move, thanks to the entertaining subject material....Almond's stories are always interesting, and his writing is passionate." San Antonio Express-News
"With the possible exception of masters such as Richard Ford, nobody today is writing better short fiction." Seattle Times
The bestselling writer who took readers on a cross-country journey that revealed his long love affair with chocolate in Candyfreak has produced a funny, bracing, sometimes shocking, always imaginative collection of stories and characters for this new compilation.
Steve Almond, the man whose candy jones fueled the bestseller Candyfreak, returns with a collection of stories that both seals his reputation as a master of the modern form and risks getting him arrested. The cast of characters in The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories includes a wealthy family certain they have been abducted by space aliens, a sexy magazine editor who falls for a worldclass cad, and a beleaguered dentist who refuses to read his best friends novel. Michael Jackson and Abraham Lincoln make cameos, as do a variety of desperate and beautiful loonies, all of whom are laid bare, often literally. In these twelve stories, Almond refuses to let his characters off the hook, or to abandon them, until we have seen the full measure of ourselves within their struggle.
About the Author
Steve Almond is the author of the acclaimed story collection My Life in Heavy Metal
. He has published stories and poems in publications ranging from Playboy
to Tin House
, and they have been widely anthologized. He is a regular commentator on the NPR affiliate WBUR in Boston, teaches creative writing at Boston College, and has eaten at least one piece of candy every single day of his entire life.